A cup of gratitude with a teaspoon of smile – the simplest daily recipe for enhancing our positive emotions.
If it were so easy to enhance our positive thoughts, why is not everyone then easily happy? The trouble starts due to this aspect called „meaning.“ Positive psychologists emphasize that pursuing the meaning of our life is as important as pursuing the things that make us instantly gratified. It is sort of the X- and Y- axes, to pursuing a fulfilled living. The Y- (meaning) axis, does not come easily to everyone, and hence people find them often stuck in a strange loop of materialistic (un) happiness.
Studies show that people who describe themselves as religious or spiritual score high on positive emotions – on the long term. Remember that relative of yours that is always happy – and the only secret to her/his happiness, might be the level of prayers and spiritual time spent by that person? Religions provide a sense of perspective, a let-go nature, which cannot be easily achieved by people having compulsive behaviours. Religious practices enable us to open up, and reach out for the purpose and meaning of both our lives, and think for the society around us. In fact, research on essays written by nuns revealed a higher percentage of „positive“ and grateful words used in their writing. Positive emotional content was in turn related to longevity – the happier nuns lived on average 10 years longer than their less-happy counterparts.
Happiness is not a feeling in the moment, but an important influence on how we process the inputs given to us in our lives, absorb them, and look in the future. Studies examining happiness factors have in fact shown that leisure activities involving religion often have the direct positive effect of bringing people into contact with others – and good social relations are undoubtedly a necessary condition for extreme happiness. Here are some easy steps to improve your religious quotient: 1) Every day, think about the purpose of your life. 2) Pray or meditate at the start of every day. 3) Attend a religious service of a faith unfamiliar to you.
While the effect of these habits may not be directly perceived, experience suggests that it helps us to tune to our duties better, to experience more peace and happiness in our daily experiences. Meditation is in fact the single most promising activity that is capable of changing our perspective, and seeing even the mundane, in a special way. Simply put, meditation enhances our receptive capacities, tunes our antennae to nature’s signals with lesser and lesser interruptions.
Studies in the lives of the Gurus and saints like the Dalai-Lama readily reveal that it is possible to incorporate simple divine practices to worldly life. and experience higher quality of the same. Moving from the understanding of God as only a medium for troubleshooting, to building the entire relationship as a first principle and goal of life, needs a paradigm shift. The shift occurs, from the moment when we realize the everlasting unconditional happiness in the friendship with the divine.
How about impacting others? When we attain a happy self, we start to have the ability to pay it forward to others, more naturally than we think. When the mind is empty and the heart is full, it can flow this truth easily to the next person, and the effects of our happiness spreads on, contagiously.
Was this article helpful? Could you change your perspective by meditation, and by seeing the universe’s plan?